All six victims had gunshot wounds and were transported to local hospitals, the Oakland Police Department said at a press conference. They were all adults believed to be affiliated with the school, Oakland Police Department Assistant Chief Darren Allison said, though officials did not say if any were students aged 18 or older.
Allison said the shooting happened at about 12:45 p.m. at the Rudsdale Newcomer High School portion of the King Estates campus, which houses four schools that also include Sojourner Truth Independent Study and BayTech Charter School. Investigators are working to determine how the shooting progressed, Allison said, noting that some victims were located inside the building.
“Today’s gun violence at Sojourner Truth school shocks the soul — our schools are sanctuaries for our children,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a tweet. “The unbridled access to firearms in our country is inexcusable.”
Two victims had life-threatening injuries and one person had been released from the hospital as of Wednesday afternoon, Allison said at a press conference. Two others were pending release from the hospital and the last victim had non-life threatening injuries.
Allison said officials were looking for at least one shooter, though he said more suspects could be involved. Nobody was in custody yet on Wednesday. The school was cleared and the situation is not active, officials said.
John Sasaki, a spokesperson for Oakland Unified School District, said in a statement that district officials “do not have any information beyond what Oakland Police are reporting.” He said the Sojourner Truth Independent Study headquarters has no students.
Outside a nearby church converted into a makeshift student-parent reunification site, Oakland city councilmembers Loren Taylor and Treva Reid met with frustrated teachers, parents and community leaders fed up with the rash of shootings plaguing the city, including eight homicides over a recent eight-day span.
“This is way beyond the point of crisis,” said Taylor, who is running for mayor and lives nearby.
“We have to ensure we bring all hands on deck to fight these guns and bullets flying. It’s going to require early intervention, and eyes and ears on the ground,” Taylor said. “It has to be our top priority to keep our residents safe.”
Reid, whose district is where the school shooting occurred, said she raced to the school as police were searching to see if the shooters were still on site.
“You’re standing out here where principals were in shock, they don’t have the answers. They’re processing having to use their hands to save victims’ lives that were before them,” she said. “Now we have to work on building that trust back for students, their parents and faculty to return to that campus. When that will happen? I can’t tell you.”
She said city and school officials are already strategizing to address those schools’ needs. Overall, Reid said the past couple of weeks of deadly violence has been emotionally draining for the city.
“Processing all of the homicides and being at the scenes still seeing loved ones’ bodies on the ground, it’s traumatizing,” Reid said. “We certainly feel the weight of our community. They feel like they are being preyed upon and held hostage. They can’t leave out of their homes, can’t go to the park, can’t go to the gas station, can’t go to the grocery store.
“And now parents feel like they can’t take their kids to school and have peace, safety, and security. That crippling weight of this violence is impacting all of us, especially those on this campus.”